The other issues on the offensive side of the ball deal directly with the fast break and the post-up game. It's incredibly difficult to get an open fast break in NCAA 2K3, simply because a computer opponent will almost always run by the player with the ball and block his path to the basket. Obviously, fast breaks aren't as common as they are in the NBA, but the only time a fast break ever seems to really work is under incredibly special circumstances, such as when the computer dives for a loose ball and your point guard or shooting guard grabs the ball right at the half-court line, so be prepared to focus on the half-court set. As for the post-up game, it's not horrible by any means, but again the passing can come into play. When you throw the ball down to a man on the block, he'll almost always draw a double team from the zone defense that the opponent is running, making it very difficult to even perform a simple drop-step move. Obviously, you could have the post-up man pass the ball back out to a man on the perimeter so he can draw the defense, and then have the perimeter man throw it back in for a reset, but again the passing is too slow and the defense is far too quick for this to work effectively most of the time. When the computer or a human-controlled opponent runs a man-to-man defense, these problems are much less prevalent, but the zone defense is the primary option for most teams.
Passing is a little too slow and imprecise.
The defensive side of the ball has its own irritating problems, the first of which is rebounding. Even with the rebounding option set to the equivalent of high, players will occasionally just stand around when a ball drops right in front of their faces, allowing the opponent to get the offensive rebound and another chance to score. Also, if you're not particularly familiar with each version of the zone defense, then you may be causing your team more harm than good because the player you're controlling might be out of place. NCAA College Basketball 2K3 offers a role-player option that lets you take control of a single player throughout the entire game, which can help alleviate the problem of playing out of position, since you can only move one player around the court or you can just switch the defense to man-to-man.
The Xbox version of the game is predictably better looking than its PlayStation 2 and GameCube counterparts, but it still falls short of the visual quality of NBA 2K3. Though most of the character models are fairly generic, they're still relatively detailed and feature some of the visual trademarks of college basketball such as players who wear T-shirts under their jerseys. From the banners in the rafters to the styles of the floors, almost all the arenas in the game look great, and graduates of the schools in NCAA 2K3 should be able to recognize them almost immediately. There are also some nice little touches in the crowd, such as cheerleaders and student sections that will hold up individual cards to spell the school name.
Visually, the game looks similar to NBA 2K2.
Likewise, the stadium noise in NCAA 2K3 is great, as you'll hear not only team-specific cheers but also many of the chants meant to rattle the opposing team. The commentary in the game is solid, for the most part, and it sounds natural when the play-by-play man and the color commentator interact with each other, but the team does have the tendency to repeat itself, and in some cases the play-by-play man can't quite keep up with the action onscreen.
NCAA College Basketball 2K3 is a solid game with plenty of modes to choose from, but it ultimately falls short of being an accurate simulation of college basketball. The passing system is far too slow and imprecise to break down the zone defenses effectively, even when running plays. This also affects the post-up game, which is almost rendered useless for anything but a pull-up jumper. Casual fans probably won't notice such problems, but the hard-core college basketball fan will more than likely be frustrated with them.